HUD Publishes Report on HCV Success Rates

Earlier this year, HUD posted a report titled “Using Administrative Data to Estimate Success Rates and Search Durations for New Voucher Recipients.” The purpose of the study is to estimate national success rates and evaluate the quality of HUD’s administrative data.

The study finds that “61 percent of searches initiated in 2019 succeeded, using a 180-day search window.” Additionally, “[i]f that timeline [was] extended to 240 days, the estimated success rate [rose] to 63 percent.” The report also discusses how success rates and search durations vary by an area’s rural characterization, a PHA’s regional classification (e.g., located in the Northeast), and a PHA’s size.

The study looks at two metrics to evaluate the data quality. First, it looks at the share of entrances to the program which have a search voucher. The rationale behind examining this metric is that if a PHA is accurately recording data, then it will be recording both the issuance of the voucher and the admission to the program. Similarly, if a PHA is only recording the admission, then the PHA may not be recording unsuccessful searches (i.e., those searches with an issuance, but no admission). To ensure the use of quality data, the study excludes new admissions that are not preceded by a search voucher and only calculates success rates for PHAs with nearly complete issuance data.

The second metric that the study uses to evaluate data quality is the timeline for successful searches. If a PHA admits many participants only a few days after voucher issuance, then it is likely indicative that the PHA is retroactively adding the issuance date at admittance, which may mean failed searches are not tracked. To address this issue, the study does not estimate annual success rates for PHAs that have admitted more than 15 percent of new families within seven days of voucher issuance.

The success rates from this study should not be directly compared to how PHAs calculate success rates as the study examines search events, which might include multiple voucher issuances to a family. Housing agencies may calculate success rates based on each discrete issuance of a voucher.

The full report can be found here.

Emergency Safety and Security Grants Funding Guidance Published

Applications due June 28, 2023

HUD has released Notice PIH 2023-10, outlining the application process for Emergency Safety and Security Grants (ESSG) as part of the Public Housing Capital Fund program. This funding may be used to address natural disaster emergencies, carbon monoxide detectors, heat and smoke detectors, and crime or drug-related activities in public housing. PHAs may apply for funding to support one or more projects, but the total amount requested cannot exceed $250,000 per agency.

For deadline and submission information requirements, see Notice 2023-10, the Notice of Due Date for Application Submission document, and the April 30 edition of The NAHRO Monitor.

HUD Publishes NSPIRE Score Calculator

HUD has published a National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE) score calculator for properties that have had an NSPIRE Demonstration inspection. This calculator does not apply to pass/fail inspections.

The tool is a Microsoft Excel file into which PHAs or POAs can enter the number of deficiencies from an NSPIRE Demonstration inspection by location and severity. It provides a rough NSPIRE score estimate based on the deficiencies cited at the time of the inspection and duplicates the scoring methodology explained in the proposed NSPIRE Scoring Notice. HUD emphasizes that this tool only provides an estimate of inspection scores and that past inspections are less accurate because both the NSPIRE standards and property conditions may have changed.

Download the calculator and find more information on the NSPIRE webpage.

New Study on Choice Mobility Option in RAD Properties Published

HUD recently published a study titled “Evaluation of the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD): Early Findings on Choice Mobility Implementation.” In projects that have converted from public housing to either project-based rental assistance (PBRA) or project-based vouchers (PBVs), the housing agency is required to allow residents to request a housing choice voucher (HCV) (i.e., a tenant-based voucher where the subsidy follows the family) after the resident has lived in the RAD property for 1 year (for PBV-based properties) or 2 years (for PBRA-based properties). If requested, the resident will be provided a voucher when one becomes available.

The study found the following:

  • There were only limited instances where residents requested HCVs;
  • While most agencies adopted limits to the number of HCVs requested at once, none of the agencies ever reached those limits;
  • Housing agency staff felt they effectively communicated the choice mobility option to their residents, while resident experiences varied between agencies;
  • Both housing agency staff and residents mentioned other barriers to exercising the choice mobility option:
    • Residents had trouble finding private-market housing;
    • Nearly all residents stated that paying security deposits, application fees, and first month’s rent presented barriers to using vouchers;
    • Housing agency staff noted high rents presented barriers, especially in tighter rental markets;
    • Resident credit was another barrier;
    • There were certain barriers caused by the pandemic; and
  • Housing agency staff did not believe that the choice mobility option affected unit turnover or impacted management costs.

One-half of the residents who moved noted dissatisfaction with their new neighborhood.

Residents moving from these RAD developments tended not to receive extensive mobility counseling, but the report notes that “[a]lthough PHAs receive administrative fees for PBVs and other HCVs . . . none of the staff at the PHAs interviewed reported using those fees to cover housing search assistance for residents exercising the choice mobility option. Staff at one PHA noted that the lack of direct funding for housing search support from HUD resulted in their search assistance efforts being limited and ad hoc . . . .”

The full study can be found here.

HUD Releases Notice on MTW Regionalization Requirements

On April 7, HUD released Notice PIH 2023-08, which clarifies policies, statutes and regulations that apply to agency regionalization implemented under the Moving to Work (MTW) demonstration program. Regionalization is an optional approach that agencies may take to more efficiently provide housing assistance and services for low-income families.

As authorized in the 2016 Appropriations Act, MTW agencies who are interested in regionalization may request to HUD, with one or more adjacent PHAs, designation as a regional agency. These agencies have the authority to administer Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and public housing assistance within their given region.

The notice lays out the various options and requirements of those options agencies would have to adhere to in pursuing regionalization.

There are two options in pursuing regionalization, which include:

  1. Transfer/consolidation of programs, or;
  2. Through a Management Agreement

All MTW agencies that apply for regionalization, no matter the option they choose, must submit responses to supplemental MTW regionalization questions listed in the notice. These questions range from “why is a Regional MTW agency is needed?” to “how would the proposed Regional MTW agency achieve the statutory objectives of the MTW Demonstration…?” There are also a number of other documents that must be submitted highlighted in the notice.

For more detail on the requirements of each option in pursuing regionalization, please see the next edition of the NAHRO Monitor on April 30, 2023.

To view the full notice on MTW Regionalization, please see here.

HUD Announces New Grants and Vouchers to Address Homelessness

On April 17, HUD announced $171.2 million in funding for 115 new projects within 29 Continuum of Care (CoC) communities. Additionally, HUD will provide 3,362 Stability Vouchers to 139 PHAs who have partnered with CoC grantees totaling $43 million.

Allocated funds for CoCs will be used to address unsheltered and rural homelessness in 62 communities. The vouchers, which were by invitation only from HUD to certain PHAs, if accepted, would be for rental assistance for people experiencing or are at-risk of homelessness.

In total, HUD states they have now provided $486 million for CoC communities. The funding is in alignment with the goal of addressing unsheltered and rural homelessness, which has been a main focus of HUD and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH).

For the full list of grant awards please see here.

HUD Removes Three-Year Expenditure Requirement for CDBG-CV Funds

On April 18, HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development published a notice of change that removes the Three-Year Requirement, which specified that 80 percent of a Community Development Block Grant CARES Act (CDBGCV) grant must be expended within three years of the grant agreement execution date. The notice maintains the Period of Performance requirement, which still requires grantees to expend all CDBG-CV funds within six years.

In response to member concerns of the Three-Year Requirement, NAHRO submitted a letter to HUD in February 2023 requesting that the requirement be waived. The removal of the Three-Year Requirement provides grantees the ability to expend all of their CDBG-CV funds in a reasonable amount of time.

The requirement, which was written into the CDBG-CV program rules notice in August of 2020, did not account for supply chain issues, prolonged shutdowns, and other issues that prevented funds from being used. The notice of change acknowledges this as their reason for the removal of the requirement and provides further detail of their evaluation.

To view the notice, please see here.

For the NAHRO’s letter to HUD please see here.

HUD-VASH Registration Notice Out ($94 million)

HUD has published a notice titled “2023 Mid-Year Registration of Interest for HUD-VASH Vouchers” (PIH 2023-09), which announces $94.4 million in potential HUD-VASH funding for 11,000 new HUD-VASH vouchers. The vouchers will be awarded following a two-step process:

  • Eligible PHAs may register via a link on the HUD-VASH webpage (this will require signed letters of support from Veterans Administration Medical Centers); and
  • Based on a formula, registered PHAs will receive an invitation to apply for a specific number of HUD-VASH vouchers.

PHAs must be registered by midnight of their time zone on Wed., May 10, 2023.

Housing agencies must meet certain threshold criteria to register. These criteria include having signed letters of support from partnering VA facilities; a demonstrated capacity to administer the HUD-VASH program; and certain utilization standards for those agencies that already administer HUD-VASH.

There are certain minimum and maximum voucher awards. Any single PHA may receive a minimum of 4 vouchers and a maximum of 500 vouchers. Each Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC) will be capped at 1,000 vouchers.

There are certain other requirements for PHAs that wish to project-base their vouchers.

The full notice can be found here.

2023 Renewal Funding Inflation Factors (RFIFs) Published

Earlier today, HUD published a notice titled “Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments Program-Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Inflation Factors for Public Housing Agency (PHA) Renewal Funding.” These inflation factors are used by HUD to determine how much renewal Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) funding an agency will receive relative to the prior year. Each PHA receives its own factor, but the Department also calculates a national inflation factor, which the Department has calculated at 9.6% this year.

After discussing inflation factors with HUD staff, NAHRO encourages PHAs to take steps to utilize the substantial increase in funding that most Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) programs will receive. While the national factor is 9.6%, many PHAs will receive substantially higher factors, and are encouraged to take appropriate steps (e.g., increasing payment standards, adopting Small Area Fair Market Rents, etc.) to ensure that the funding is spent by the end of the calendar year.

The RFIFs can be found here.

The Area Definitions table can be found here.

(The above link was not functional as of 9:23 am ET on April 12, 2023, but should be functional soon.)

The full notice can be found here.

HUD Publishes Notice on HCV Landlord Penalties

On March 31, HUD published a notice titled “Notice on Remedies PHAs have for Poor Performing Owners in the Housing Choice Voucher and Project-Based Voucher Programs” (PIH Notice 2023-06). The notice informs PHAs of the available punitive measures or remedies they have against landlords that do not comply with their Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contracts. The notice also discusses the punitive measures that HUD has against PHAs that do not comply with the HAP contract.

The notice discusses remedies that PHAs have for landlord non-compliance with the HAP contract. Potential breaches may include the following: violating any obligation under the HAP contract, including maintaining the unit up to Housing Quality Standards (HQS); violating any obligation under Section 8 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937; committing fraud, bribery, or other corrupt or criminal acts related to any federal housing program; failing to comply with regulations for mortgage insurance of loan programs in certain instances; engaging in drug-related criminal activity; or engaging in violent criminal activity. If an owner fails to maintain the unit according to HQS, the PHA must take “prompt and vigorous” action to enforce owner obligations. The notice details other inspection-related scenarios when PHAs must take certain enforcement actions.

The notice also discusses instances when PHAs are required to exclude owners from the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and Project-based Voucher (PBV) programs. Instances when a PHA must not approve an owner’s participation include the following: the owner is debarred from participation; HUD directs the PHA not to approve the owner because the federal government has instituted an administrative or judicial action; or if HUD directs the PHA not to approve the owner because the owner has violated a civil rights law.

There are several instances where a PHA may also use its discretionary authority to exclude owners from HCV and PBV programs. Housing agencies may adopt policies that will exclude owners from participating in the voucher program. The PHA may exclude the owner for the following: violating the HAP contract; committing fraud, bribery, or other corrupt or criminal acts in connection with federal housing programs; engaging in recent drug-related criminal or violent activity; frequent non-compliance with HQS; not evicting tenants that threaten peaceful enjoyment of unit, threaten the health and safety of residents, or are engaged in drug-related or violent criminal activity; frequently renting units that do not meet state or local codes; and not paying taxes, fines, or assessments.

Housing agencies should not penalize owners that consider the nature, severity, and recency of tenant offenses, including mitigating circumstances before evicting.

For PHAs that fail to comply with program requirements, HUD has the authority to take certain punitive actions. The Department may do the following: offset administrative fees; prohibit use of funds in the administrative fee reserve account; direct the PHA to use funds in the reserve account to improve program administration; reduce HAP amounts; reduce other HUD funding amounts; or declare the PHA in default. The Department may also initiate claims against owners in certain instances.

The notice states that the Department may take similar actions against PHAs that do not follow PBV program requirements.

The full notice can be found here.